Shutterstock.com

Hurricanes, earthquakes, sinkholes, rising seas, the threat of nuclear annihilation: It doesn’t take a doomsday prophet to know we’re living in unstable times. However, some people are using these occurrences as signs that the end of the world is coming very soon. They believe that these events are corresponding with the End Times prophecies listed in the Bible and that Jesus’ return will happen during our generation. Prominent Christians are speaking out about the End Times, and it seems like we have a new “end of the world” date every few weeks.

Dates have been thrown around for decades. First, a doomsday date was set to be in May 2003. It was moved to December 21, 2012, the date that ended the Mayan calendar, as some believed marked the apocalypse.

More recently, Christian David Meade stirred up a lot of fear when he claimed that Biblical prophecy was going to be fulfilled on September 23, 2017. He based his prediction on a complex set of calculations and inferences centered around the number 33 and imminent interference from the planet Nibiru. A Christian website called Unsealed backed him up, arguing that Sept. 23 was to mark the beginning of the end.

Every time end of the world predictions resurface in the media, it is important that we ask ourselves, “Is this helpful? Is peddling these falsehoods a good way to contribute to meaningful, helpful discussions about the end times?” Every time the answer is no.

Stories like these are an embarrassment to Christians and the faith convictions we take so seriously, because they are not rooted in any real Biblical theology. Moreover, they are a distortion of God’s Word and deserve to be exposed for the fabrications that they are.

Ed Stetzer, a professor and executive director of Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center for Evangelism takes offense when people use the Bible out of context to promote End Times prophecies.

“Whenever someone tells you they have found a secret number code in the Bible, end the conversation,” Stetzer wrote in an article published by Christianity Today. “Everything else he or she says can be discounted.”

That is not to say that Christians don’t believe in the Bible’s prophesies, Stetzer said, but baseless theories that are repeated and trivialized embarrass people of faith.

Shortly before His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus Christ delivered a major prophecy of end-time events, recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. However Jesus was very clear about the conditions and events that would lead up to His second coming. One of them was that no one will ever know the day or the hour of His return. Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36).

There is no problem with reading what the Bible has to say about Jesus’ return, and trying to understand what it all means. However the issue lies when Christians begin to follow what false prophets have to say. These people who claim they know when the world will end have no true Biblical evidence, and God himself said that no one will know when it is to happen.

Instead of putting our faith in these fake dates, we should be putting our faith in Jesus and God. The prophecies they have written for us in the Bible should be the only ones that we follow or believe. Jesus warned that someday this world as we know it will come to an end—not because of a war or natural disaster, but because God will intervene and bring it to an end. The future is in God’s hands, and He alone will bring an end to the world.

When this happens, all the evils of this world will be destroyed and Jesus Christ will come again to rule over a new world in perfect peace and justice. We can barely imagine this, but it gives us hope for a better world.

By choosing to accept Jesus as Our Savior and believing in Him now, we have no reason to fear His return. We can move through each day with confidence that we are forgiven and loved by Him. He will protect us if His return happens during our life on earth.

Christians should learn about the end of the world as written in the Bible and the prophecies that Jesus associated with it, however they should steer clear of anyone trying to predict the end of the world based on current news events. This goes against God’s Word and only brings unnecessary fear.